Sunday, December 07, 2008

4 Years Old

Hold your fingers up high Coleman!

Today is the day you are 4!

I am so blessed to be called your mommy!

I am so thankful for such a sweet and amazing gift this day four years ago!

Happy Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

It's December

All day yesterday I kept telling myself, "it's December already?"

I should be thinking about decorating but instead I am thinking about cleaning. My home has been severely neglected over the past couple of months and I can't picture myself hanging up or displaying one Christmas decoration until some of the dust is removed.

This morning while walking on the treadmill, I was grumbling to the Lord about the condition of my home. My closets are a mess, the dust is thick, the floors, the refrigerator, the bathrooms, it all needs to be done. And by the way the laundry and suitcases are still on my living room floor. I was talking to Him about all of my attempts over the years to keep my home neat and orderly and how I continually come up short. I have followed plans. I have made some great schedules and created some wonderful charts, but nothing makes the task any easier or less demanding. The only thing I haven't tried is hiring a maid and I know that won't happen. And besides I would have to clean before the maid came, so that would be pointless.

I came home after my walk and started putting away groceries when somewhere between putting away the box of oatmeal and the apples I heard the Lord's still small voice whisper, "what are you trying to build?" I know, I know is what I thought to myself (I just studied the book of Daniel and I know what happens when we try and build our own agenda) but it still doesn't get my house clean. And again, the nudging as I put away the carrots and milk, "whose kingdom are you trying to build?" It is like a huge sign that I keep ignoring until I am about to hit it again. I think for the past year God has been trying to teach me something. He stops me in my tracks continually and forces me to look at my motives, the blueprint of my heart, the reason for wanting something or doing something and sadly when I am honest with myself, it is about me and how I want to appear to others or what I hope to accomplish, not about Him.

God has given me everything I need. Including the ability to clean my house. And if you have never thought of housecleaning as a spiritual act, just start talking to the Lord about it and I am sure he will reveal some dust.

Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

There is nothing like coming home. It doesn't matter how fun the trip was, I always look forward to getting home and sleeping in my own bed. We had hoped the drive coming home would be shorter, but it wasn't. It is still a 14 hour drive to Colorado no matter which way we go.

But what does it mean when you come home and a huge red bow is attached to your garage door, red ribbon wrapped around the front of the house, and a wreath made of red forks is hanging by the door? (I wish I would have taken a picture)

a) don't ever leave again because your house is fair game?
b) someone just paid off the loan on your house and is gifting it to you?
c) the forty or so people who beautifully decorated the church last Sunday for Christmas wanted to make sure they shared their talents with us personally?
d)someone is mad at us and couldn't bring themselves to "toilet paper" us so instead decided to "bow" us? (this tells me women were involved?)
e)someone discovered how much I love the color red and wanted to bless me?

Any guesses??

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

I awoke this morning to some familiar sounds from my childhood. I could hear my mom in the kitchen. Cupboard doors were being opened and shut. The clanging of pots and pans and the sound of running water echoed through the house as she cleaned and prepared the Thanksgiving Turkey for cooking.

She always enjoyed getting up before anyone else and putting the turkey in the oven so that by the time everyone else was awake and breakfast was being started, this part of her day was complete.

My parents home has a huge window that faces Pikes Peak. This morning the sun was shining right over the top of the mountain and you could see it's snow capped top perfectly. It was a beautiful site!

The day has been quiet and very relaxing. The boys have spent alot of time outside. The girls watched a fun movie.

The food today was wonderfully familiar and generous. My uncle and cousin joined us for our simple gathering. We read allowed Psalm 100 and prayed together.

There are so many changes in every one's life that sat around the table today. Most are too personal to blog about. We each have so much to thank the Lord for even in the midst of change.

As I look back over this year, I am thankful to the Lord for all that He is doing to change me. I don't want to change. But the Lord in His loving way nudges me along and as I look at the difficulties ahead as a result of change, I am also tempted to glance back at what seemed comfortable and familiar and want to stay there.

I am sitting quietly tonight with Coleman sleeping soundly next to me in a dimly lite bedroom. I am ready for bed. I have written down all that I am thankful for from this past year even the really difficult times. I don't just want to thank the Lord for the good stuff. I want to never forget the really hard stuff and how He has carried me through.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thankful Heart

It's late. I am sitting in a bedroom in my parents home. Everyone else is asleep. I should be too, but today is my mom's birthday and I think the piece of chocolate cake eaten about an hour ago is keeping me awake.

My parents retired and moved to Colorado a year and a half ago. This is the first time I have seen their new home. I am so grateful to be here.
It had been just over a year since I had seen my Mom and Dad. Too long! The distance and the busyness of life had prevented an earlier visit.

But we are all together now and I am so thankful!

Our family has taken many long road trips. Living apart from extended family for the past eight years as allowed for us to spend many hours in the car together driving down the interstate. I have grown to absolutely love road trips. This time was no exception. The only difference was the kids are older and take up much more room in the car. The challenges of keeping everyone comfortable can be cause for some tense moments. But we make it through and everyone tries really hard to work together. Road trips will be on the list of memorable moments in our children's life. (or at least I can hope so)

Road trips provide something else for me though. It is a time to talk. Long hours on the road with no where to go but buckled in your seat allow us to talk through all that is going on in our life. And the rest of us have to listen.

It is a time to think. Just when everyone is starting to feel a bit irritable, we have thirty minutes of silence. No talking, just thinking. It's my favorite time.

It is a time to reflect. There is no where for the kids to run off to, so we usually have some moments on the road trip where we encourage them to reflect on all that God has done in our lives as a family, and for His grace and His goodness.

But out of fear of sounding like peace and joy ooze from our vehicle as we head down the highway at seventy-five miles an hour, we have plenty of sibling arguing, whining, and cranky people in the car too. It is almost comical at times to watch us go from deep conversations to absolute frustration over the next kid asking, "how much longer?"

It was a long trip this time. But another road trip has been logged and I am so thankful to be here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What are you dreaming of?

This is the title of the next chapter in a book I am reading by Nancy Guthrie. And this is the first statement I came to today as I opened the book where I left off....
Are your dreams molded by the culture we live in and what this world values and recognizes? Or have your dreams been shaped and reborn as the Holy Spirit remakes you and as the Word of God renews your mind? Nancy Guthrie
...after reading it, I closed the book and realized before I go on, I need to ask myself this question and ponder the answer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A look at Fall

This afternoon I put away the light coats since the weather doesn't seem to be promising the temperatures that we so enjoyed a week ago. The leaves have been beautiful this year. Last week on what may have been one of our last warm days of the season, Coleman and I took a little nature walk while waiting for school to get out. We sat under this tree for about a half hour in the afternoon sun. He played with sticks, leaves, and found a few bugs, while I just enjoyed the quiet moments with him. And by the way I love the way the photo above turned out. I was trying to capture the color of these leaves not noticing the barren trees off in the distance and what a beautiful contrast it makes. I couldn't help but ponder the season that we are in and how quickly the seasons change with our kids. It seems when they are little the days can feel long and then one day you look up and ask yourself, "what happen?" The changes are coming so quickly you can't seem to keep up.

Hunter is in his third year of soccer and still loves it. He played in two tournaments this fall and we were so thankful for the beautiful weather. One day while walking across the soccer field and looking over at a college game being played he said, "when I grow up I want to be a professional soccer player and a pastor."

Kelsey played 7th grade volleyball and loved it. She had a great season! We loved going to her games and even enjoyed traveling to the away games. Her only complaint was that the season was too short. She is loving Junior High and we are loving watching her grow and change.

Theo had an extremely fun year in football. He made some new friends and played really well. He is #54 in this photo. The best part was that he spent the entire season with his dad as one of the coaches. I loved hearing them come through the door at night talking about the game and what they had learned. It was a sweet time. Theo is my kid who has changed the most over this past year. Everything about him is changing. It is also fun to watch. (note to self - I need to write a post about this)

Lauren has been busy with football cheerleading and musical. Thankfully she has her license and now her own car. It is hard for me to believe we are in the final years of high school with her. I feel at times it was yesterday we started Kindergarten.

A lady asked me today what I enjoyed most about being able to be at home with my kids, and I told her, "getting the front row seat in my child's life."

It's not about me

Yesterday I had one of those very sobering days when the reality of life as others have and are experiencing it through their grief, their hurt, their pain, their illness, their lack, and even their sin was heavy on my heart. It is so easy to go about life and lose sight of what others are carrying around in their own heart and only be consumed with myself and what I need to get done or where I need to be.

It all started with Beth Moore and so many of the things she said as we walked through Daniel chapter 11 together. I wrote this real big in my notes, "If we miss the sacrificial life, we miss our calling." (Romans 12:1) The theme that has ran through this entire study has been, "it's not about us." Our post modern Christian culture wants to understand people quickly, provide a quick solution and keep everything organized and comfortable. Jesus never said it would be easy, but instead He gave us many examples of how much it would cost. Our culture screams as it must have in Babylon to take care of yourself, think of yourself, self, self, self. Let's be honest we are obsessed with our self. And therefore if we don't like it, or how it makes us feel we look for something else. And as Beth Moore so beautifully stated, "spiritual gifts take time to grow and mature and surprise it's not about you."

As my day continued on, it was a email, a phone call, a conversation of what others are facing and how completely selfish I feel at times for worrying about my little pinkie problems of the day when others are experiencing a mountain of pain, worry and grief. From a very broken and lost young woman, to a sweet momma sitting by her daughter's side, to the suffering of those watching loved ones fight for their life, to this precious mother whose grief I don't pretend to understand. I asked her if I could send a link her way and she said, "it would be completely fine." So, today would you all take a few minutes and read Amie's post. But don't just read it, leave her a note of encouragement.

I pray that like the woman at Bethany my life and yours would be poured out, completely empty of ourselves and a living sacrifice for Him. It's not about me.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


He is totally twelve!
Happy Birthday Theo!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Yesterday I found great comfort in God's Word during Bible Study after our discussion on Daniel chapter nine and the teaching from Daniel chapter ten. I sat quietly in my seat and thought to myself that no matter what happens today, God is on the throne. He is the Ancient of Days. He knows.

The words of Daniel 2:20-22 that he spoke after God had revealed to him the secret of Nebuchadnezzar's dream are what is on my heart today...

Daniel answered and said: " Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. Daniel 2:20-22
My husband has taught from the book of Revelation over the past four weeks. And the message that it brings is HOPE. Although there are still many things that I don't fully grasp, I have HOPE. We know how it all ends so therefore we don't live as if we have no hope, but one who understands that He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Revelation 22:13

Monday, November 03, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008


It all started a few weeks ago when Hunter (8) informed us that he has never carved a pumpkin. I pulled up the archives in my mind of pumpkin carving in our family knowing that it was not in my favorites and recalled that he was probably "three" the last time we had cut open one of those big orange beasts. I usually enjoy the collecting, displaying, and photographing of them, but not carving so much.

So I decided that since this was so important to him, I would make it important to me. First, I made sure everyone was going to be home at the same time. This is getting tricky these days and the reality that it will only continue is hitting home hard. But that is a post for another day.

Next, we covered the table with cardboard and
my husband started the party with cutting off
the tops. Let the fun begin.....

Hunter was determined to save every seed for either planting or roasting. The slimy mess was everywhere.

Coleman wasn't sure if he was ready to dig in. Just removing the top was enough for him.

They each determined what their pumpkin's face would look like. I was on serious knife duty. Praying that no one would lose a finger.

Hunter was involved in every detail.....

It was important that his pumpkin face had two new teeth to match the two that he is getting.

Meet the "Pumpkins"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

He Knows!

"I know my own sheep" John 10:14
God knows me. He knows it all. He is the Ancient of Days. He knows my public persona and my private pettiness. He knows what lights the fire of my soul and what dampens the flame within me. He knows how I struggle, even now, between self-pity and self sacrifice. Even if I want to hide my inner thoughts and motives from him, I can't. He knows my deepest regrets and my secret longings. He knows!
The thought that "He knows" has given me so much comfort over the last few weeks. He knows the answers to the questions that swirl around in my mind, even if I don't. Oh, how painful and at the same time pleasurable it is to be fully known! Such a relief that I do not have to put on pretenses, yet such a rub to have all my weaknesses exposed. And then I remember that he is the Good Shepherd. His full knowing of me doesn't cause him to recoil; it reminds him of why he came - to lay down his life for me. Knowing I've done nothing to deserve it, and knowing that at times I will stray from his flock, he has chosen to lay down his life for me and he invites me to know him in an in intimate way. Even though he knows the real me, he wants me to follow him now and for eternity. He wants to be with me! He knows me!

(adapted from a devotion in Nancy Guthrie's book on Hope)

Friday, October 17, 2008

What am I doing...

  • Trying to recover from a very busy Fall season with the kids which is slowly winding down.
  • Enjoying the light rain today and the cooler weather which allowed me to turn on our fireplace.
  • Caring for a sick girl and secretly enjoying the time alone with her.
  • Trying to go through kids clothes and purge purge purge while...
  • Listening to a message "Hoping In God" given by a sweet friend.
  • Looking at the title of a book I recently picked up sitting on my table which is also titled "Hope" and realizing this is often how the Lord speaks to me. He puts several things on the same subject right in front of me so that I don't miss it.
  • Praying for several who are ill and hurting and needing to feel His Hope.
  • Understanding more today that caring for a home and family is a gift even when it is overwhelming and everyone is pulling at you all at the same time.
  • Needing to finish this post and take some notes of this message before returning to the clothes piles and before the clock strikes..."it's time to go pick up kids from school."
  • Thankful that He is the Ancient of Days and so thankful for the message this week in the book of Daniel. He knows and always has!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

So I don't forget

Eight year old Hunter's Awana teacher called me Wednesday night after church to inform me that Hunter indeed knew the books of the bible. He recited them to her as:


we laughed so hurt. it was great.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Dear Lauren,

Happy Birthday! It has been a beautiful day today. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it is a glorious day.

We had nothing big planned for the day, but instead just some family time. Your sister and brothers all made you cards and decorated your room after school to surprise you when you came home. As usual you were absolutely delighted and enjoyed every ounce of their effort. I peeped in on you this morning as you ran out to cheerleading practice in the wee hours of the morning, received the warmth of your smile as you darted off to school, and caught the joy in your eyes as you ate your dinner and headed off to youth group. Something in me wanted to grab you and make you stop. But I know I can't.

Seventeen years ago you made me a mom for the very first time and it seems each year goes by faster and faster. I am so thankful to the Lord for giving me such a gift in you. I just wanted to be a mommy, but He far exceeded my expectations.

Your compassion for others truly blesses me. I am humbled by your mercy and desire to see those who are hurting healed and those in need provided for. The only thing you asked for your birthday was to take a trip to Chicago to visit and pray for a young man from your school who is laying in a hospital bed. I asked if you were serious, and you said, "yes". I often say to myself, "when I grow up, I want to be just like her."

I love these photos of you because it was a very special day (date) you and I shared. I will treasure the memory, the moments and the conversation.

October 8, 1991 I sat in the hospital room at the end of the hallway in awe of the baby girl I held in my arms. Today I stand in awe of the young lady that God has placed before me.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Tom is my brother. I actually have three brothers, all younger than me and no sisters. Growing up they teased me as the bossy older sister always trying to keep them in line. Tom is the middle one and shhhh don't tell anyone but today he is my favorite. He is very tall, six foot three (I think), warm, kind, gentle, sensitive and has a great sense of humor. He has been the best uncle EVER to my kids.

One of my most cherished memories is watching his six foot three frame dance with my oldest daughter when she was a toddler to her favorite Barney song. He could do all the moves and the two of them would put on quite a show singing and dancing.

So, you can only imagine how excited I was when his first child was born last November. I couldn't wait to see him with his own little girl. In January, I had to make a quick trip to California and seeing this new addition was a priority. When I arrived at their house my brother and his beautiful wife were pretending to be busy at the kitchen sink as they watched me walk up the driveway. But what they were waiting for was my reaction to this...

As I opened the front door, she was sitting there, waiting, all by herself. It made me cry. I am so proud of him, the father and husband he is, and all that God is doing in his life.

I miss you Tom!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A very special vase

Yesterday I received this beautiful bouquet of flowers from a woman who attends our Women's Bible Study on Tuesday mornings. She blesses me every so often with this type of gift and I am so very grateful for her kindness. I know that she has cut the flowers from her own garden and then I imagine all of the work and care that she has done and yet I am the one who is enjoying the beauty of her work.
When she handed me the flowers, she apologized for the "vase/container" she had put them in. I quickly replied with, "it doesn't matter what they come in, It's not the vase I am looking at, but the flowers."
As I looked at these vibrant colors all afternoon adorning my table, I couldn't help but relate this to our previous weeks lesson in the book of Daniel. Does the vase make the flowers more beautiful? It depends on what you want to look at. It depends on what your goal is for these flowers. It depends on what truly matters most to you in relationship to having these flowers.
Flowers bring me such joy and the hands that picked these and placed them in this plastic container are even more wonderful. I will leave them just as they are.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It was a good thing

The Chicken Tortilla Soup turned out great! I know it is a good thing when my son asks if he can have a second bowl after his football practice instead of his usual request of cereal or when my daughter wants another bowl instead of dessert???

My Favorite Soup

Even though our days are still pretty warm and our evenings are just perfect, I have been waiting patiently to make some soup. Another reason I love the Fall Season. Here is what I will be making tonight.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Yellow onion chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small can green chilies
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded chicken
2 Tbs. Taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:
sour cream
shredded jack and or mild cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Saute onions and garlic in butter in a large pot over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add chilies, tomatoes, beans, corn, chicken stock, chicken, and taco seasoning. Stir through on high heat until soup boils. Reduce to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer one hour.Serve with sour cream, a handful of cheese, and place broken pieces of tortilla strips on top.

Makes eight servings

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the official First Day of Fall

and I have a yucky head cold! I am number five in my family, so I guess I should be thankful it waited to hit me after I had bought two dozen boxes of kleenex and re-stocked our medicine cabinet, tea supply and chicken soup stock.

But in the meantime I love fall, the colors, the food and the weather...

You Belong in Fall
Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...
You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings
Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

What Season Are You?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Early Morning Thoughts

I am interrupting my morning quiet time to share something that has just stuck with me in the first paragraph of lesson three in our bible study on the Book of Daniel.

"Integrity doesn't develop apart from consistent resolve."

I also agree with this, "The Book of Daniel is storehouse to so many treasures that we could study it a dozen times without unearthing them all."

And lastly I love this, "My prayer is for the pursuit of God and His Word to become, in Steven Curtis Chapman's words, your magnificent obsession."

Now, back to my quiet time before the kiddos wake up.

Oh, and I almost forgot about this one, "Image building is the attempt to make impressions that are bigger than we are." Oh, I could chew on Daniel chapter three for months...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A sweet friend gave me two bags of baking apples recently. I am anxious to bake some pies, apple crisp, and even try this. This is truly my favorite season.

Each year as the Fall season is ushered in with the sights of apples and pumpkins, it also brings soccer, football, back to school, and now volleyball. I have been busily attending meetings, managing the mounds of paperwork and forms, writing checks for this and that and trying to establish some sort of routine so that the homework is being checked, the reading is getting done and everyone gets to where they need to be.

I have received all the the practice/game schedules and have carefully entered the necessary information into our calendar setting up reminders so that nothing is missed and hoping we can sit on the sidelines as often as possible.

I have learned that just as quickly as this season came upon us, it too will quickly turn and change. If I am not careful, I will miss it. So, I choose not to fret too much about the stuff and the things that can wait.

I wish I would have understood this a decade or so ago. I would have saved myself so much frustration if I could have learned to be content in the season and place that I was in. I battled over my lack of being able to do it all. Oh, I did not readily admit that this was my goal, it was an inward battle over trying to maintain some outward appearance.

I wanted to have my house clean, my kids closets organized, toddlers and preschoolers who followed my neatly organized plans, laundry that stayed on top of itself and as I began homeschooling my oldest daughter a lesson plan that would fall neatly into our day. My life was anything but that. I left a high level management position in the corporate world with a promising future to be at home full time with my children. I had many moments of feeling like a complete failure. It is the hardest job I have ever had, and yet the most rewarding, and I get to sit in a position that was set apart just for me.

I am thankful for the wise words of older women in my life who would often remind me of what truly mattered. The words, “they grow up so fast or treasure these days when your kids are little” often fell on the ears of a weary mom who could not see past the chaos that prevailed. It took work to plant those words in my mind and heart. To live them out and believe that one day I will understand it all.

My seasons have changed. I am in a brand new one again. I have taken on a very small part-time job along with the ministry. Life is busy, very busy. But I know that just as the days in the park sitting on a blanket with preschoolers playing and a nursing baby crawling around me have begun to fade, these days will too and a new season will be upon us.

Yesterday as I sat on another hard bleacher watching, smiling, and cheering at my daughter's volleyball game, a tear trickled down my cheek. I reached over and squeezed my three old and thought about Paul's words in Philippians 4:12,
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
What season are you in?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bible Study

Our Women's Bible Study groups start this week. We are doing this.

Our Tuesday morning group watched Session One this morning and all I can say is WOW! I have been thinking about what she shared all day... we have committed to "learn" over the next twelve weeks and I have no doubt we will.

Monday, September 01, 2008

By Faith

My friend Cyndi at One Day More posted this today. I had to copy it, print it out, and now post it!

Father thank you for the provision You have made for victory over Satan.

Now by faith I put on the girdle of Truth. May my life today be motivated by Truth. Help me to maintain integrity.

By faith I put on the breastplate of righteousness. May my heart love that which is righteous and refuse what is sinful. Thank You for the imputed righteousness of Christ.

By faith I put on the shoes of peace. Help me to stand in Christ’s victory today. Help me to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker.

By faith I take the shield of faith. May I trust You and Your Word today and not add fuel to any of Satan’s darts. Thank You that I can go into this day without fear.

By faith I put on the helmet of salvation. May I remember today that Jesus is coming again. Help me to live in the future tense. Protect my mind from discouragement and despair.

By faith I take the sword of the Spirit. Help me to remember Your Word and use it today.Father, by faith I put on the armor. May this be a day of victory.

”Dr. Warren Wiersbe “Strategy of Satan”

Cyndi and her husband are about one week away from picking up their son in Ethiopia. You must go and read this post. I was reading through the book of James this morning and this verse tugged at my heart. One of those tugs that screams pay attention, read each word carefully, listen not just with your mind, but allow it to sink in deeply....I am trying.

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:26-27

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It has been a long time since I posted a menu plan and well if I am honest it has been a long time since I planned a menu. Other than for the week we spent in a cabin on vacation, I haven't planned one meal all summer. We ate light and easy, or maybe it was just easy. Please don't ask my family.

Tonight while eating dinner together, my oldest daughter shared how one of her teachers asked the students how many of them eat dinner with their families at the table two to three times during the week. She said her and another boy were the only ones who raised their hands. She went on to say that most of the students responded that they were just too busy to sit down together and or a meal wasn't prepared when they needed to eat. My eight year old then added his opinion of that information in a very serious tone, "if we never sat down to eat together, than when would I see everyone together and be able to talk to them?" My thoughts exactly, Hunter!

Well, I have spent the last several weeks collecting and organizing recipes. I needed a recipe boost. So, here are a few of my finds and some old favorites.

Monday: Barbecue Beef Sandwiches (using leftover roast from Sunday) Roasted Red Potatoes and Fresh Fruit

Tuesday: Oriental Chicken Wraps

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese and Salad

Thursday: Green Chili Flautas Beans and Rice

Friday: Slow Cooked Chili with cornbread

Saturday: Dinner out with my husband and some friends and these for the kids

Sunday: Crock Pot Apple Bacon Pork Chops with white rice and salad

Laura has helped me with my new surge of recipe ideas. For more menus or some new recipes go here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer, defined

I'm Finished

I finished reading through the Psalms. Back on Memorial Day Weekend I felt the Lord nudging me to spend the summer months reading through this beloved book. I hesitated for a moment, after all it is the largest book in the bible and my past record of summer reading and studying of scripture was very dismal. But I decided to take the challenge. And I am so glad I did.

My goal was to finish by Labor Day Weekend. And today I read through the last few on my list. I did not go in any particular order, but kept track as I finished each one. I kept a journal of my reading and found myself keeping track of certain themes that the Lord was revealing over and over.

At first it was a challenge, the busy days of kids being home, the flood, and all that life brings during the summer months, but as the weeks rolled by I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I found myself excited to get up in the morning and longing to spend time reading through the next group of Psalms on my list.

It was truly what sustained me throughout the fifteen days my husband was in Bulgaria. I never missed a day while he was away.

Some days I felt as though I was on a roller coaster. One minute I was rejoicing, the next I was weeping. I have a new reverence for His majesty. The word "righteousness" is all over the place and I prayed for a deeper understanding of what the Lord requires for those who seek Him.

He speaks of His great love for us and reminds us that He hates evil. He calls us to rejoice with Him and yet understands our deepest sorrow.

Labor Day weekend is always the close of summer. This particular summer it is the close of a journey for me, one of which I am so thankful for the Lord's nudging.

The kids have finished seven days of school. I have signed more forms, written more checks, and attended more orientation meetings in the past week than anyone should ever be required too. But this is the year with one in high school, one in junior high, one in middle school, a second grader and a caboose of a three year old. It should be fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's the first day of a new school year...

and the new Jr. High student in the home has stated already this morning, "I am so glad we had an orientation yesterday, otherwise I would have died this morning."

Thank you Jr. High principal and faculty for saving my daughter's life.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

He's HOME!

AND I have...
one very relieved sixteen year old
one very overjoyed thirteen year old
one very proud eleven year old
one very smiley eight year old
one very very happy three year old

AND one very grateful wife!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baptize me!

The last time I spoke with my husband was on Tuesday morning. Our conversation was quick and a bit rushed, but he couldn't wait to tell me that they had spontaneously baptized several people in the Black Sea.
How cool is that!

This photo is so precious. Three of the men are Bulgarians and the other three are from the American team. (My husband is wearing the cap)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28:19


Just look at his smile...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bulgaria Update

As we sleep tonight (central time) the team will be leaving early in the morning (Bulgarian time) for a three hour trip to the Black Sea. This is where they will spend the remainder of their mission.

They are ministering at a camp that has been put together for both gypsies and Bulgarians ages 14-35. This is something that has never been done. (the gypsies are considered outcasts and generally not widely accepted) Please pray for their safety as they travel and that God's love would be poured out to all who attend the camp and that the missionary team would continue to be used in a powerful way to share the gospel message. I have been praying that a message of hope would come through their teachings, their touch, their smiles and to all that they come in contact with. Jeremiah 29:11

I was able to talk with my husband on Wednesday and today we tried to connect but was having trouble. I don't know if being able to see photos of him helps or makes it harder? Truly the pictures paint a beautiful picture of what God is doing. I tried a couple different times today to look through them, and found myself in tears each time. So, I refrained. But this is one of my personal favorites of my husband surrounded by children at one of the gypsy villages where they had ministered.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer Fun

It took me about three shots...but I finally got it!
I was sitting on the beach and she was about 50 feet out in front of me. I was just taking some fun shots of the kids going down the slide and then they started jumping off the back. It was as much fun for me to watch them as it was for them to be jumping into the river on a beautiful summer day.
5 minutes for mom is having a summer photo contest. To enter go here

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


We interrupt the mission trip updates to announce:

He finally lost his ONE front tooth!
Don't worry Dad already saw his new smile using Skype and loved it!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bulgaria Update

This afternoon I spoke with my husband again using Skype. His voice is perfectly clear and there is not the usual delay between my speaking and him hearing what I just said as in years past. And it is truly remarkable and wonderful to be able to speak with him more than once. (In 2005, he went to Sri Lanka and I was so thankful for the one phone call he was able to make during his two week trip)

A large part of the ministry they are involved with is to both orphanages and the gypsies. Yesterday they ministered at an all boys orphanage. Today they ministered at a group home for orphans. He said the response has been amazing. Each night they are attending and ministering together at gypsy churches. Tonight they used a drama to share the gospel message and the people responded. He said it was powerful!

I have been praying that the work they are doing will plant seeds that will take root and grow. They are working with both a local foursquare church as well as a national youth leader in Bulgaria. I have been praying that God would establish strong leadership and provide the necessary resources for the work to continue long after this team comes home.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Yesterday morning my husband boarded a plane in Minneapolis with seven other members of our church on their way to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. The first leg of their trip took them to Chicago to meet up with five additional team members from another state including my husband's long time friend and fellow minister, Pastor Nick. About 4:30 pm central time they all boarded a flight for Vienna, Austria. The almost ten hour flight and seven hour time difference made for a very long night. The last leg of their trip took them from Austria to the capitol of Bulgaria, Sofia, with another hour time difference. The team was then transported to Stara Zagora where they will be ministering for the next thirteen days. They arrived this afternoon (Saturday), had a few hours rest and headed right out to do an outreach at 6 pm (10 am central time) where my husband would be preaching.
Technology is absolutely amazing and because of it my husband called my computer this afternoon using Skype and a web cam. For a few brief moments all six of us were huddled in front of my laptop trying to see and be seen and say hello. (just a side note ~ Coleman was trying to show daddy his green balloon that he just received from the lady at the hair cut place ~ you know the important stuff) It was after 11 pm in Bulgaria. He just wanted us to know they were all doing well, and that over 30 people made a decision for Christ at this first outreach.
I am often amazed at how the Lord puts things together. I saw first hand God's handiwork as I listened to each of the team members share their heart and passion for wanting to GO! As I helped finalize the plans for this mission's trip, I stood in awe of what God had laid out before us and what He was putting together. A young couple, a mother and daughter, an attorney, a single mom, an older woman who has been such a faithful servant in our church, and a pastor all packing a bag and going, just as Jesus commanded to "make disciples." Matthew 28:19-20 And we get to be a part of it through our giving and prayers. I stand in awe!
A few nights ago, as the team gathered one last time to finalize the packing of the gifts they had purchased for the orphans and children they would be ministering to, my heart became overwhelmed with what they would be seeing and doing. While the room was filled with chatter about flights, security, luggage, soccer balls, pumps, supplies, etc., I found my own mind wandering back to the emails I had exchanged with the mission team leader/the local church pastor in Bulgaria. He had shared in detail the needs of the people God has called him to minister to. I could hear through the written word the heart of a shepherd crying out for both the sheep in his pasture and those that weren't there yet. I could see God taking these eight people and using their lives to bring a message of hope and healing to a people in need.
The last few nights (and days) have been hard. Not in a bad way, but just like the last time my husband went on a mission's trip overseas, God was at work in ways we never imagined. There were changes ahead, unexpected turns, and yet GOING as he did then, was all part of God's plan. It seems the work isn't all done on the field, but it begins sometimes weeks and even months ahead of time right here at home. We could sense it the last time, we sense it again.
I would appreciate your prayers over the next two weeks. I will share more specifically about the people they are ministering to and some of the events they will be a part of in my next post. In the meantime, thank you for praying and listening.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a little summer randomness...

This past weekend I splurged a little and bought a large bag of Bing cherries. OK, I splurged alot!
But every last cherry , stem, and seed was completely worth it.

They were fresh, firm, and very sweet. Yum!

Baseball and Softball season is now officially over. Baseball ended this past weekend with my son's team winning their end of the season tournament.

Softball ended last night with my daughter's team winning their end of the season tournament also with a nail biting extra inning 11-10 victory!

Go Angels!

They both played really hard this year! Last night as my husband and I were sitting enjoying our last bag of ball park popcorn with two diet Dr. Pepper's, we were a bit sad that our spots on the bleachers in the warm summer sun would have to wait for our return until next season. After all for the past six weeks, this is where we ate our dinner most evenings, carefully balancing five hot dogs, bottles of water, and occasionally some nachos on the hard wooden benches or the metal bleachers.

And finally, I find it a little strange that the very river which caused so much destruction brought us some pleasure over the weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect and my eleven and eight year old boys tried water skiing on a Ski Skimmer for the first time. They loved it and actually did pretty good their first time out.

Hunter did great and wasn't about to let go of the rope...

Theo was a natural!

And what a better way to start our family vacation. We have been home catching up on so many things...and leaving some (many) things until later. Tomorrow we head out together, just the seven of us for some family time. I did not have a lot of expectations for summer vacation this year other then it must include water, sun, and a place where our primary article of clothing would include a bathing suit and maybe a few shorts and t-shirts. I think we are there....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Two Boys, A Bike, and Five Bucks

Recently my two oldest boys (11 and 8) asked if they could ride their bikes to the pool. The 11 year old has ridden many times, but this would be the 8 year olds first time on his new bigger bike.

They planned out their path in great detail and after receiving some strict instructions from their mom (about their ride to the pool), they were off. Little did I know they had a whopping five bucks in their pockets.

They rode the path from our home to our local public pool along the newly placed sidewalk that now stretches from the entrance of our street all the way passed the high school, through the tree lined neighborhood, along the front of the hospital and ends at the golf course, which is just a block from the pool. They later described their daring and yet careful crossing of the quiet street that the pool is located on. My heart was relieved that they had made it safely, until I heard the rest of the story.

After several hours of sun, chlorine, and the back flops off the diving board, two boys hopped on their bikes for their journey home. But instead of taking the quiet tree lined sidewalk safe path that they had chosen for their ride to the pool, they instead headed through the busy neighborhood streets, crossed the four lane (might as well of been the freeway in my mind) main street in our community to spend the five dollars they had carefully collected and was burning in their pockets.

I can only picture them racing down the sidewalk along Bremer Ave. stopping at each intersection, imagining they stopped and walked their bikes to cross the street (I can hope), and finally arriving at one of our local gas stations/convenience stores filled with everything imaginable for two boys to spend their hard earned five dollars.

After hearing of their daring and adventurous afternoon, I didn't inquire too much about the actual purchase. All I saw was the wrappers and satisfaction that two boys had enjoyed this and this.

They had not given too much thought about what mom may think of their choice to make a quick stop (in their minds) to spend their hard earned money until the door opened from the garage and they entered the house carefully hanging towels and backpacks on hooks and heading to the trash can with evidence in hand.

Eyes red, cheeks sun kissed, and shoulders pink, their faces beamed with excitement and satisfaction as if they had just done something really wonderful and important. Over the next thirty minutes I heard the stories of their big adventure. It started with words like careful, slow, crosswalks, and ended with "it was so cool", "my brakes work good", and "I looked back once in a while to make sure he was ok".

As a mother I knew this was one of those moments where I had a choice. I could ruin the day my two boys headed out together on their bikes and did something they had never done before or I could enjoy the moment, the excitement, their accomplishment and join in on their celebration. I chose the latter.

I knew in my heart that my oldest son (who has traveled a little more on his bike) was careful and watchful of his younger brother. I knew the younger brother listened and followed carefully the instructions of his older brother. I will never know what risks they took, the smiles they gave each other or of the sheer joy only the two of them experienced as they rode along in the sunshine on a summer afternoon.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What is normal?

I have been asked this question a lot lately, "are things starting to get back to normal?" And I am not sure quite how to answer it. It depends on what someone is looking for. If they are wondering if everything is the same as it was one month ago, my answer would be "no, it will never be the same, nor should it."

I am often perplexed as a Christian when we want things back to the way we think they should be. When I have tried to create some sort of "normal" and label it as a standard for living.

I have been speaking to my children about this over these past several weeks. Life has been anything but normal for us, for them, and yet I don't want them to miss what God is doing through it. We don't get to choose our tomorrow. Only God knows what it will bring. We must learn to trust! Each day as I sit with my bible on my lap, my pen and journal in hand, and a heart that cries out to the Lord for those in need, I am not the same, I don't look at "things" the same, and I am thankful for the things that floods can't wash away, destroy, or change.

Today my house is quiet for the first time in weeks. It is in need of some cleaning and there are things in places that are not normal. And yet I wouldn't change any of it. We have had others living with us, people stop in and join us for a meal, and others invited over for a time of refreshing and prayer. The opening and closing of doors has not stopped. And even though my physical body is tired, my heart is full.

So, to answer their question..."no, things are not back to normal and I hope they never get there." But I do pray for two very special women in particular. Their lives have been turned upside down by the flood. I know they would do anything for "normal". They are hanging on and holding fast to the truth that God is the ...blessed controller of all things.

Happy 4th of July!

It was a great day!
The weather was just right!
The parade was fun!
The food was totally yummy!
The fellowship was even better!
Happy 4th of July!